CHEHALIS The 15-year-old son of state Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, pleaded guilty Tuesday in the juvenile division of Lewis County Superior Court to four counts of first-degree rape of a child and four counts of first-degree child molestation for crimes that reportedly took place in Hatfields homes in Lewis and Pacific counties, according to court documents.
According to the Centralia Chronicle, the 15-year-old was taken into custody and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center before being released into his fathers custody.
Court documents indicate he will likely face a 104-week counseling program called Special Sex Offender Disposition Alternative (SSODA), 30 days in custody, transfer of jurisdiction to Pacific County, restitution to be determined, school notification, firearms ineligibility and $100 fees to the crime victims fund and for DNA registration. He is eligible for SSODA because he committed non serious violent sex offenses and has no prior history of sex offenses. In addition, a notation "M.I." on his "Statement of Plea of Guilty" indicates juvenile authorities will tell the judge that a "manifest injustice" would result if he was subjected to the full sentencing range specified by state law.
In a story initially brought to light late last week by KIRO Eyewitness News in Seattle, this already bad situation is complicated by the fact that Hatfield and the victims mother did not report the abuse to authorities when it came to their attention this February. This omission was corroborated by a Lewis County Sheriffs Office report cited Tuesday.
The victim's mother told the investigator on April 24 "that Brian had told her on several occasions that he was attempting to enter [his son] into therapy and would also be contacting authorities in Lewis County. [She] stated that she knows this has not occurred."
The guilty pleas stem from an admission of guilt on the part of the 15-year-old in court documents to raping and molesting the child on numerous occasions in the senators homes in Adna and Raymond from November 2012 to February 2013. The victim was 10 years old when the abuse began.
Pacific County does not intend to pursue separate criminal charges in the matter.
This matter was investigated by the Lewis County Sheriff's Office and in discussions with the Lewis County Prosecutor and the lead investigator, it appeared any violation as to the juvenile was substantially committed in Lewis County and will be resolved by the Lewis County Prosecutor either as part of their case or as a special appointment, Pacific County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mark McClain said Wednesday afternoon.
The victim detailed the sexual abuse to authorities on April 24 at Olympic Elementary School in Chehalis and said that his mother walked in on the last incident, which occurred this Feb. 14.
The victim confirmed to authorities that the incidents of sexual assault had not been reported but he estimated at least seven abusive sessions had occurred since January.
Both the senator and the 15-year-old boy declined to speak to Lewis County authorities on the advice of their attorney, according to the Chronicle.
Under Washington state law, is it a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine for any adult who has reasonable cause to believe that a child who resides with them, has suffered severe abuse, and is able or capable of making a report [to fail to do so]. For the purposes of this subsection, severe abuse means any of the following: Any single act of abuse that causes physical trauma of sufficient severity that, if left untreated, could cause death; any single act of sexual abuse that causes significant bleeding, deep bruising, or significant external or internal swelling; or more than one act of physical abuse, each of which causes bleeding, deep bruising, significant external or internal swelling, bone fracture, or unconsciousness.
The victim's statement to investigators does not suggest physical injuries occurred to the extent outlined in the law.
Hatfield issued a statement via his attorney. See related story.
Hatfield is chairman of the State Senate Agriculture Committee and has been a key legislative vote on various matters, including the recently passed Senate budget. Political circles are beginning to speculate that he will resign from his seat, which would set off a replacement-selection process controlled by the county commissioners in the 19th Legislative District. The two state House members in the district, Dean Takko and Brian Blake, are the most obvious candidates for the seat if Hatfield does step down.
Hatfields first wife, Freddie, lost a battle to cancer in 2007 and he became a single father for much of the time since then, before remarrying on Sept. 1, 2012.
In an interview in February 2012, he spoke of the challenges of parenting while spending long periods away from home, during which time his son stayed with Brians parents, Stan and Gail Hatfield of Raymond.
Sometimes youve got to remember whats important, and thats what Im frustrated with today Im just not going make it, he lamented, about missing his sons final eighth grade basketball game. Theres some bills I need to be there for. You always have to put family first, and Im going to have to apologize to my son and make it up to him. I may not even see him this weekend.